OKLAHOMA CITY, Okla. (KFOR) — A metro business owner is reunited with his stolen truck after a News 4 viewer caught the story and was at the right place at the right time.
“I was like, ‘Great. What do we do?’ These people are struggling just like everyone else and that’s the rock and a hard place,” Zachary Smith told News 4 last week, after he found a pile of shattered glass where his 1982 F-250 once stood. He and his father had already spent $7,000 turning it into a camper. “They clearly smashed the window and hopped in it and took off.”
Smith suspected someone in the homeless population, surrounding his store “Gear Exchange” near Northwest 36th and Grand, was to blame.
Over the years, Smith said he’s gone out of his way to help those less fortunate. He said he’s given them water and even a place to use the restroom. Last week, he was starting to think twice.
“I feel like I’ve been taken advantage of by some of them,” he told News 4.
Little did Smith know, luck was just a few miles away.
“I was just driving by and I saw a glimpse of it. I was like ‘That looks like the truck on the news!’ So, I turned back around and took a picture of it,” said Susan Tilton. “I looked at my google and went back to the report. They looked alike but I wasn’t sure.”
Tilton said News 4’s story caught her eye.
“What caught my eye to the story was he was helping the homeless,” she said. “What a great guy!”
Just days later, there the truck was, sitting at the Garden Square Apartments near 10th and Rockwell.
“I got ahold of him Monday morning and sent him a picture of the truck and asked him if it was his and he said yes it was,” Tilton.
“Unbelievable, I didn’t expect to get this truck back,” said Smith.
Smith, Tilton, and News 4 all met up at a Bethany mechanic shop, since the truck had taken a bit of a beating.
“It looks like they took a wheel. This is a spare tire,” said Smith as he pointed out a tire that didn’t match the others.
“It also looks like they may’ve been mudding at the river,” he said. “I mean, there’s mud all over the hood. They had some fun in this thing! I’m glad someone did.”
On the back of the truck laid a few red rack shelves that Smith said was not there before.
“So, they might’ve been actually using it to do work, I don’t know,” Smith said.
Now Smith is happy to have his project and future camper back. Tilton happy she could help him find it.
“Oh, it feels wonderful! I’m just glad I could help him out. We found it,” she said.